Recently Hekia Parata announced a further $11m for NZ Sign Language over the next 4 years.
This is on top of $6m over four years previously announced in this years budget and existing funding.
In addition to around $1m this year that the MoE has re-prioritised into this same area.
Hekia‚Äôs announcement was interesting and illustrates that she has been taken for a ride by MoE officials and sector lobbyists.
In the most recent announcement, the press release says‚Ä¶
¬†“There are currently around 400 deaf children in New Zealand aged between 0 up to 5 years-old, and another 1400 aged between 5 and 18 years old.‚ÄĚ
So reading this you think the money is for 1800 kids. $18m over four years for 1800 kids who probably have pretty high needs doesn‚Äôt seem too much. It‚Äôs about $2500 a year each.
But do these numbers really stack up?
The DomPost did a follow up article after a number of people¬†questioned their cut and paste job of the minister‚Äôs press release.
It turns out that there are only 60-70 kids 0-18 who are reliant on sign language and another 200 who might use it regularly in support of their oral language.
Ministry of Education head of sector enablement and support Katrina Casey said the figures were made up of children with moderate to profound hearing loss and drawn from the Deafness Notification Database 2010-2013, as well as quarterly reports of the country’s two deaf education centres to June 2014.
She confirmed that of the 1800 deaf children, only 60 to 70 were identified as reliant on sign language to access the curriculum.
About another 200 students in deaf education centres used sign language regularly. Read more »